Florala, Alabama native Dwight Stone went undrafted coming out of Middle Tennessee State in 1987 but still managed to forge a 14-year NFL career, playing the bulk of it with the Pittsburgh Steelers. After stints with the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets, he retired after the 2000 NFL season.
After his retirement from the NFL, Stone fulfilled a longtime dream of becoming a police officer. He was a member of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department in Charlotte, NC where he served as both a school resource and patrol officer for 14 years.
In the newest installment of Card Back Q&A Series, we talk to the former Steeler about his blazing speed, the famous Steelers minicamp and his desire to become an FBI agent.
Tony Reid-Your 1992 Score card back addresses your ‘sizzling 4.25’ 40 yard dash time. When did you realize you had that game changing speed?
Dwight Stone– I never realized how fast I was. I was never really timed in the 40 or took it serious enough to be timed in the 40. I never put it all together until I got to the NFL. People started mentioning good 40 times. I didn’t really know how fast I was until they timed me.
TR– Your rookie card was in 1988 Topps. Do you remember the first time you saw yourself on a trading card?
DS– Oh, do I! Being a free agent and then making the team, and then to have a card come out…it was like Christmas again. A fan mailed one to me. They asked me to sign it. Wow, they wanted my autograph and this is my card! I signed the card. I was talking to Gary Anderson at the time. I told him it was wild. He said ‘Stoney, get used to it. The main thing is, make sure you sign everybody’s cards and return them to them.’ I said ‘I sure will buddy!’
TR– The Pittsburgh Steelers have one of, if not the most, passionate fan base in sports. Do you remember the first time you were approached for an autograph?
DS– It was at training camp. I was a free agent. They just stick a number on you. Someone came up not really knowing who I was, asking for an autograph. It thought I was big stuff even though they didn’t have a clue who I was. I had a number 5 jersey on. My hair was bad. Coach Noll always said ‘Sign everybody’s autograph because one day they won’t want your autograph.’ Wow. So, I signed every time and I made time every time.
TR– I’ve been to Steelers camp in Latrobe. It’s a really unique environment. It’s a cool experience to be that up close and personal with the players and to have that interaction is pretty special.
DS– It is. When you can actually come up close and touch people, take pictures and there are no real restrictions to intermingle, it’s special. That’s one thing I love about the Rooney Family. When they say family, they mean family. It’s not one of those situations where people aren’t really what they say they are. The Rooney Family are what they say they are. I have always loved the Rooneys and Coach Noll. I am forever indebted to them. They know if they ever need anything from me I am just a phone call away.
TR–Which players inspired you?
DS-My favorite player of all time was Walter Payton. I mimicked my workouts after his workouts. The running the hills, everything he did, I did. I used to read up on him and do what he was doing. That is one of the reasons my speed was the way it was.
TR–On the back of your 1994 Topps card it mentioned you wanted to be an FBI agent. You came pretty darn close, right?
DS– I was accepted in the FBI but I played football past the acceptance age of a government employee. That’s why I became a police officer for 14 years. I loved it and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I was doing an internship in Pittsburgh during the off season. They knew that is something I wanted to pursue after I left football. I played football a lot longer than I thought I was going to play. For some reason, I had everybody fooled. I stuck around a little longer (laughs). I did get accepted into the police academy.
TR–The back of your 1992 Bowman cards stated that you were on of the fastest and most dangerous players. Did you feel dangerous when you got the ball in your hands?
DS– For me, I guess I thought everybody on the field at every position was just as good as the next guy. I am a Christian. God has blessed me in so many ways. Maybe he gave me wings at times. I seemed to be a little faster than everybody else. It was a blessing. It’s all about what you put into something that determines what you are going to get out of it.
TR–Your 1994 Playoff card had a ,well, interesting quote. ‘In trying to generate some offense in 1993, Pittsburgh left no Stone unturned.’ What are your thoughts when you hear that?
DS– (Laughs) Isn’t that cute. They left no stone unturned. It’s amazing what people can think of. To hear other people’s ideas, I love that. I love hearing other ideas because I will use it down the road. I love it.